At sea along the SW coast of Chile
December 21, 2010

I knew there was more than one reason I chose a cabin all the way aft…….a nice rocky ride.  Despite this ongoing sinus thing, I slept very well.  I think I got more sleep last night than I have in the previous 4 days total!  But the accompanying headache is getting kinda old.  And then there are those annoying PA announcements coming from out in the hall.  If I want to know what’s going on onboard today……..I’d read it in the daily “Explorer”.  (Welcome back to Holland America, Becky!)

I couldn’t seem to find anything this morning.  All my things are all put away; my suitcases are too tall to fit under the bed.  So they & a side chair are pushed over towards the far side of the bed.  The space feels sort of confining; like I’m constantly bumping into things.  Things that I thought were in one drawer magically jumped over into a different drawer.

About 10, I ventured out of the cabin.  Ran into 2 steward-looking people in the hall.  I asked if they were MY cabin stewards; they said yes.  So, at least now I know I have one & who they are.

I went up to the Lido for breakfast; the place was a zoo.  The separate service stations down the serving line are somewhat confusing.  Some places, you actually have 2 lines side by side; one going to the omelet station & the other going to the hot breakfast station.  And these 2 lines tend to block the passageway.  I don’t have a better solution; but there were “issues” with the system this morning.  Another interesting experience in the Lido is the “hand washing machine”.  In an effort to prohibit the spread of germs, they’ve installed these 2 waist high cylindrical “things” that have 2 holes cut in the top.  You put your hands down in the hole; jets of sanitizer & water circulate around your hands for 10 seconds; & then the machine stops.  You take your hands out & wipe them with paper towels.  It feels pretty good; but is it really necessary?  Aren’t those hand sanitizer dispensers all over the place doing a good enough job?

Back to breakfast…..I had a bowl of fruit, some bacon & sausage links & scrambled eggs.  I had my eye on the eggs benedict “station” but they were out of hollandaise sauce.  So, I passed.  After reading the ongoing debate on Cruise Critic about HA doing away with the ‘cafeteria’ trays, I’ll add my 2 cent’s worth.  I think they need to bring them back.  It’s kinda stupid to go to one station; pick up a plate; & find a table.  Set it down, go to another station; pick up a plate; bring it back to the table.  Etc, etc, etc.  I guess it works for those who want to eat a plate; get up & get another plate; eat…….  I think you get the picture.  Maybe they sold the trays to pay for the hand washing machine?

I went back to the cabin to work on the blog.  Took more advil for the headache; & really wanted to lie down.  But the Cruise Critic meet & greet party was at 1 pm up in the Crow’s Nest.  I was afraid I’d fall asleep & miss it.  I’m glad I went though, cause it made me forget the headache for a while.  First time I’d been all the way forward & up top.  Things were really bouncing around up there.

We were greeted by our “hostess/organizer”, Kay, (who posts under the name “battha”) & her husband, George.  She was dressed in red & had on a Santa hat; real cute.  She had name badges & encouraged everyone to circulate.  There was coffee, juice & Danish laid out on a table for us.  She had asked the Cruise Director & the Hotel Manager to come & answer questions (which they did).  I counted about 35 or so in attendance (although there should be around 60 of us onboard).

I was able to seek out & meet a few that I had been in contact with on the boards & through e-mails.  A lovely lady from Phoenix named Marina (“Mariwind”) & I had swapped e-mails in the past few weeks.  I talked w/ Rich (“obnxshs”), Deb & her parents, who are traveling with them.

As the group began to disperse, I spotted a name tag that said Jean (“matrasa”); this is the Ft. Myers neighbor that I had “met” on the message boards.  Turns out she lives quite close to my sister; & she’s a hoot to talk to.  Lee Ann, Lou, Jean & I stayed & talked for a long time after everyone else left.  We talked about getting Canaletto reservations for Christmas night.

My headache was almost gone when I got back to the cabin.  I worked on the computer for a few hours.  I had the TV set on the channel that shows the view from the bridge.  The bow of the ship would rise way up out of the water; & then drop down way below the horizon.  If you stared at it long enough, it could make you a little nauseous.  So, I tried not to look; & just enjoy the movement.  I could have gone to sleep easily.

I made it down to the Lido restaurant not too long before they closed at 8.  Lou, who had already eaten, was at a table reading.  So I joined her (without even asking, come to think of it, sorry).  As I did at lunch, I would go to the salad station; fix a plate & bring it to the table.  Then go to the entrée station, etc, etc.  When they’re about to close, you have no other choice but to grab every course all at once; & surround yourself with numerous plates full of food.  Kinda disgusting looking.

I fixed a mixed salad; & tried several of the premixed salads.  One was chicken salad with jicama (fabulous); beet salad with arugula & lemon ginger dressing (so-so); & a really delicious chipotle egg salad.  For my main course, I had roasted lamb chops (good) & sautéed spinach (could have used some seasoning, any seasoning).  For dessert I had a cheese plate with some marinated fruit that was excellent.  Lou & I sat & talked a long time.  Turns out she writes a blog too.  She’s an academic (unlike myself); but we do share a similar wacky sense of humor & outspokenness.  We jokingly said, maybe we were twins separated at birth.

About 9:30, I was back at work on the blog & photos.  The internet was a little peppier tonight; so I was able to get the files uploaded in much less time.  I watched the bridge camera; & noticed it wasn’t totally dark outside until around 10 pm.  I prepared a room service breakfast card to hang on the door.  First port day tomorrow; & I have a tour at 8:45.

Reminder to self:  ask the cabin steward for foam pillows tomorrow.  I think the feather pillows are what’s causing my eyes to be so red in the morning.  And could it be prolonging this sinus event?

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